MERS outbreaks grow; Malaysian case had camel link

Friday, April 18, 2014
By Paul Martin

Robert Roos
Apr 17, 2014

Outbreaks of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infections expanded further today with reports of seven more cases in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and three in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), while the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that Malaysia’s first MERS patient had drunk camel milk when he visited Saudi Arabia.

The seven new cases in Jeddah include one death and raise the unofficial count in the city’s current outbreak to well above 40. Of the seven case-patients, one is a healthcare worker (HCW), according to a machine translation of a Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH) statement, posted by the blog Avian Flu Diary.

The patient who died was a 72-year-old Saudi man, the statement said. Two patients, both Saudi men, ages 60 and 70, are in intensive care units. Four others, with ages ranging from 31 to 54, are listed in stable condition. Two of them are Saudi citizens, and two are not.

The infected HCW is a 54-year-old non-Saudi man in stable condition. The statement did not give any details on how the patients were exposed to the virus.

The latest cases increase the country’s posted MERS-CoV count to 212, including 72 deaths. Unofficially, the Jeddah outbreak now numbers 45 cases, according to a case list maintained by FluTrackers, an infectious disease message board.

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